By Tyler Simpson,2014-06-28 14:05
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yO vikramENa manujatva vibhooshaNEna

    dEvam varam varuNaraajam aja! jyEshTaa: /

    kritvOpadaam dasaratham vidhi rudra mukhyai:

    dEvai: sthutas cha , sa kilEmdrajitaa jitOsi //

“Oh! Birthless one! Being a human being, how did you vanquish VaruNa

    and the

    Ocean king? How did you bring back your revered father all the way from


    Is it not because you are the Supreme? This being so, how did you stoop

    to offer

    obeisance to VaisravaNa, Yama, Indra, MahEndra, VaruNa, the three eyed


    rider with the bull flag, and Brahma etc and acted as if you were bound

    by the

    “Naagapaasam” aimed at you by Indrajit? If these were not mere enacting,


    else could they be?”


When Emperumaan asked what he should do to cross over to Lanka,

    VibheshaNa in

    consultation with Sugreeva and others suggested that Rama should

    surrender to

    the Ocean King (Samudra Raja). This was because he had a precedent in

    his own

    surrender to Sri Rama becoming successful. “samudram raaghavO raajaa


    gantum arhasi”

     It is seen that normally in the world the practice is for the

    weak to

    surrender to someone not only strong and capable but also willing to


     Emperumaan is “SarvalOka saraNyan” – “the ultimate refuge of

    all”. It is the

    celestials who surrendered to him for protection. He has no need to

    surrender to

    anyone else. But, he wanted to respect the suggestion of a Parama


    VibheeshaNa. He lay on a bed of grass (Dharba sayanam) and did

    pratisayanam” for three days requesting the Ocean king to give way.

     This is known in Sanskrit as “pratisayanam” and in Tamil as

    “vaDakku iruthal”. Actually, it was not “saraNaagati” in the strict sense. Therefore, the


    whether it fulfilled the angas of Prapatti like “aanukulya Sankalpam”

    etc does

    not arise.

     “tata: saagara vELaayaam darbhaan aasteeyam raaghava:/

     anjalim praangmukham kritvaa pratisishyE mahOdadhE //


     baahum bhujaga bhOgaabham upadhaaya arisoodana://”

Swami Desika makes it clear that this was Pratisayanam:

     “ivviraNDu iDamum saparikara pratisayaandhi pradaanam”

     He has also mentioned the same in both Sri Mahaaveera Vaibhavam

    and Sankalpa

    SooryOdayam as follows:

     “pratisayana bhoomikaa bhooshita payOdhi pulina” When the Ocean king did not respond initially, Sri Rama angrily

    told LakshmaNa

    to bring his bow and that he proposed to dry up the ocean:

     “ chaapam aanaya soumitrE! Saraams cha asi vishOPamaan /

     saagaram soshayishYaami padbhyaam yaantu plavangamaa://

It is seen that later when the Ocean king surrendered to Sri

    Rama, he told the

    Ocean king that having raised a “RamabhaaNam” it cannot go waste and

    asked him

    where it could be directed. The Ocean king suggested that it be

    directed against

    a couple of his enemies who were tormenting him at the Western tip of



“samudrathaik kurithu toDutta ambai samudra abhimaani purushan

    saanutaapanaai saraNagatan aagaiyaalE, dvishatigaL pakkal

    aasritaruDaiya papa

    krityattai EriDum kaNakkilE samudra virOdhi

    kaLaana paapishTar pakkalilE Evinaar” (Abhaya Pradaana Saaram)

Swami Desika says: “Because, none could survive from the arrows

    of Emperumaan,

    and because a capable person cannot surrender to a weakling, the

    surrender of

    Sri Rama failed”

     “PerumaaL kaiambum aaNdavar allaamaiyaalum saraNaagati paliyaadu



     (Swami Desika in SaraNaagati Taatparya prapanchama)

     It is OK fir you to have brought down the Ocean king to his

    knees. But, how

    come, you acted as if you were bound by the “naaga paasam” darted at

    you by


kritvOpadaam dasaratham vidhi rudra mukhyai: dEvai:

He cites several other instances to substantiate that Rama was



     By what human power could he bring to earth Dasaratha from the



     “Esha Raaja vimaanastha: pita Dasarathas tava/

     kaakutstha! maanushE lOkE gurustava mahaayasaa://” ------------------------------------------------------------



     Abdim na tEritha jigEta na raakshasEndram

     Naivaasya janjita yadaa cha balaabalam tvam /

     Nissamsaya: sapadi tasya padEbhy abhishincha:

     Tasya anujam katham idam hi vibheeshaNam cha//

“Oh! Lord! You had not yet crossed the southern ocean. You had not yet


    RavaNa, the King of Raakshasas. You had not yet assessed the relative


    and weaknesses. When these were not done, how without a trace of doubt

    you dared

    to rejoice in the coronation of VibheeshaNa as the King of Lanka


    RavaNa, while still being on this side of the ocean?


“It is usual for the victor kings to nominate someone to rule

    over the

    conquered territory only after defeating an enemy king in battle. But

    what did

    you do?”

     “You had not even crossed the ocean, let alone conquering your enemy. You had

    not even assessed the relative strengths and weaknesses of either side.

    You did

    not know the extent of the size, power and strength of the enemy‟s

    arsenal. But,

    you proceeded to coronate VibheeshaNa as King of Lanka”. You declared

    in no

    uncertain terms:

     “I swear to make you king of Lanka”

     “raajaanam tvaam karishyaami sathyam Etat sruNOtu mE”

     “This would be possible only for one who was sure of his victory. As You were

    Paramaatma and because you are “Sathyasankalpan” (one who can

    accomplish what

    one had intended), you could do this. No ordinary human could ever

    venture to

    act the way you have done in this case.”

     “yat kinchid vatatE lOkE sarvam tad mad vichEshTitaam/

     anyO hi anyat chintayati svachchandam vidadaamyaham”


    To Continue









    While discussing about “sadaachaaraya LakshaNam” and “Sad Sishya

    LakshaNam”, Sri Erumbiappa made a few observations on “Ahaara Niyadi”,


“Sahavaasa Niyadi” and “Anuvartana Niyadi”. He gives further

    clarifications on


“Ahaara Niyadi”:

     What foods should be avoided?

    What Swami Desika has catalogued in his “Ahaara Niyamam” as the foods


    should be avoided, Sri Erumbiappa has indicated in brief as follows:

Those that have been specifically prohibited in the Saastras.

    This is because such foods would trigger RajO and TamO guNas.

     Those that have contact with those other than Saatvikas.

    This is because, Saatviks would be choosy on partaking only those foods

    conducive to augment Satvva guNa.

     Partaking of food in “Sraddhas” and other “nimitta” karmas.

    This is because, it is sinful to accept “nimantraNam” in “apara

    kaaryams” especially “EkOdishTam, SapiNDeekaraNam” etc. Such foods are also

    known as



    My Comments:

For this reason Praayschittams have been prescribed like reciting

    “Gaayatri Japam” etc as follows:

    - EkOdishTam:

     30,000 Gayatris or half of it or Seabath + not accepting

    nimantraNam for ONE


    - SapiNDeeekaraNam:

     Nimitta sthaanam: 10,000 Gayatris + Not accepting nimnatraNam

    for 6 months.

     Pitru Sthaanam: 6000 Gayatris Plus not accepting nimantraNam

    for3 months.

     ViswEdEvars: 4,000 Gayatris + not accepting nimantraNam for

    2 months.

     VishNu Sthaanam: 3,000 Gayatris +not accepting nimantraNam for

    40 days

     - Oona maasikam: 1000 gayatris + 10 days

     - Maasikam: 600 Gayatris + one week

     - Abdeekam: 500 Gayatris + 3 days

     (Authority: Sri Desika Darsana Diary & Guide)

There have been instances in which some who officiated in these

    sthaanams have

    not only not observed these prohibitions but in rare cases were also

    found to

    partake in MORE THEN ONE ONE SRADDHAM ON THE SAME DAY!. It is needless


    mention that they would not have recited Gayatri for the number of


    required. This are unconscionable omissions and it will be the duty of



    to ascertain the reliability of such persons before inviting them to officiate

    in any of these sthaanams. That is why in the olden days, only close relatives

    who could be relied on for uopholding stict aachaaram and anushTaanam were

    requested to serve in the various sthaanams.In the absence of proof, we have to

    give the benefit of doubt and make do with what we have!


     Along with these, Sri Erumbiappa advises not consuming what are known as “MaNa

    chOru” and “Vilai chOru”

     “MaNa chOru” is taking food in marriages.

    This is because when food is prepared on a mss scale for feeding a large number

    of guests, any contaminations occurring might render the food not fit for

    consumption by Saatviks.

     “Vilai chOru” means food bought from vendors. In fact, sale of

    food (anna

    vikriyam) is considered sinful. Buying and consuming such food is even more so


    My Comments:

     That is why our elders never ever took food outside (paraannam) and never ever

    ate in hotels or other eateries. This holds good not only for weddings but also

    for any “partying” where food is mass produced.

     By this, it implies that eating at “Fast food joints” is clearly


     In fact, in the olden days, those strict in their Aachaaram, while going on

    KshEtraaDanams,or long tours used to take what is known as “satthu maavu” - a dry powdered food prepared at home that can be mixed and eaten with milk or

    yogurt, without violating the dietary regimen. And, they would not even drink

    water outside (let alone “para annam”) but take boiled water in “Gooja” (not

    water bottles!) that last for the entire duration of their journey. ============================================

     Food contaminated with hair, spittle etc.

    This is self explanatory and as simple as hygienic requirements like our not

    using the toothbrushes used by others.

Sahavaasa Niyadi:

People whose contact should be totally avoided:

     Those who cannot distinguish between body and soul (sareeraatma bramam)

     Those who propitiate deities other than Paramaatma.


Those who may pray to Paramaatma but pray for petty worldly


     Those who adopt means other than Bhagavaan for realizing their


     Those who are “Pratikulars” should be shunned like fire and serpents.

     Those who are “anukulars” should be befriended and their company sought after.

These are “Sahavaasa Niyadi”

“Anuvartana Niyadi”

One should not run after politicians and political forces as

    they invariably

    lead to “moneymaking” exercises as the prime motive in life and contact


    undesirable elements in society thereby jeopardizing one‟s spiritual


     It should be remembered that any monetary inflow through Dharmic

    means is the

    result of one‟s “puNya karma” and Bhagavaan‟s grace.

     Always following the way shown by Sadaachaarya is the right way

    (tholl vazhiyE


Sri Erumbiappa proceeds to clarify certain objections raised by some




We celebrate Sri Rama as the incarnation of Lord for upholding

    “Aachaaram”. But,

    when AnjanEya meets Sri Sita at AsOka vana, he says that unable to bear


    pangs of separation from his sweetheart Sri Rama forgot the days when

    in her

    company he consumed meat and wine:

    “Na maamsam RaaghavO bhunktE na cha api madhu sEvitE‟

If this were so, why not we follow the example of Rama in eating meat


    boozing? How is it correct for the dietary regimen to forbid these in

    our case?


Lord Rama did not transgress anything prohibited. He was only

    following the

    rules applicable to the warrior classes (Kshatriya Dharmam). They were


    in the Saastras to consume these. We cannot say that in this he

    violated any of

    the norms stipulated for his “varNa”. But, vEdantins who follow the

    path of

    Sattva, who have done Veda adhyayanam should not even think of

    resorting to such


    practices. VaishNava Achaaryas are far superior to “VarNaasrama Dharmas”. Those

    who are adherents to this Achaaram will deem

    it a great sin even to think of consuming these.

     Another reason is that meat and booze are usually offered to petty deities

    (kshudra dEvatas). Partaking of such food offered to them will not be resorted

    to by Paramaikaantins, who will never regard petty deities even by default.

    (marandum puram thozhaar)



    It is seen from Srimad RamayaNa that there were occasions when Lord Rama

    worshipped Rudra, Indra and others. If so, what is wrong if we follow his

    example and partake their remains of offerings as “Prasaadam”?


Rama worshipping other deities:

    This story of Sri Rama worshipping Siva in RamEswaram is not found in the only

    authentic Srimad RamayaNa of Sage Vaalmiki nor in Kamba RamaayaNam that closely

    followed the original. It has, however, appeared in some other versions that are

    not authentic.

     He is, however, seen visiting the temple of “vana dEvata”, the

    “graama dEvata”

    on the outskirts of AyOdhya at the time of his proceeding on exile (vanavaas).

    This again was done as part of “Kshatriya Dharma” according to which Kings and

    princes were required to offer prayers to such deities as a formality. Lord

    Rama, though an incarnation of Paramaatma was first acting as a human (aatmanam

    maanusham manyE) and secondly, as a Kshatriya.

     During the war, he propitiated “Aaditya”, the Sungod, through

    the famous

    “Aaditya Hridayam” at the behest of Sage Agastya. “Aaditya” was the grand sire

    of the “Suryavamsa” to which Rama belonged. It was but proper for “Sri Rama

    Chandra of Surya kula”, to offer prayers to his ancestor and that too in

    deference to the mandate of the great Sage, Agastya.

    In fact, he was only discharging one of the triple debts to which a human being

    is heir to, namely “Pitru ruNam” in propitiating Sun god.

    A Paramaikaanti for whom Lord NarayaNa is the food, drink and enjoyment


    (Taaraka, POshaka, BhOGhya), will never resort to worshipping such petty deities

    nor partake offerings to them as “Prasaadam”.



    I have known that Paramaikaantins do not recite this “Aaditya Hridayam” at all

    because they know that Lord NarayaNa is Supreme and that Surya is only a

    subordinate deity.

    A question may be asked why we invoke the names of some of the petty deities

    like Savitru, Brahma, Rudra etc in our Sandya vandanam and other chores, Achaaryas explain that when a certain procedure is prescribed in the Saastras

    (including mention of the names of such petty deities) we have no option to

    leave them out. Similarly, where such inclusion is not stated in the Saastras,

    we have no option to include them in our prayers.

    In the specified contexts, one is said to offer obeisance to the indweller of

    these deities (antharyaami) who is none other than Sriman NarayaNa and this

    excuse cannot be availed of in other contexts according to our whims and




The CharamaslOka of Bhagavad Gita states “sarva dharmaan parityajya”

    which means

    that one should give up all dharmas. For giving up some habit, one has to have

    practiced it earlier. This means that one has to have these habits in the first

    place at least for “giving up” later. Only a dharma that had been in


    could ever be “given up”. So, if we want to live up to the command of

    Charamasloka, we should indulge in such practices like eating meat and drink



What is “Dharma”? Those that are the means for realizing the

    objective of life

    (mOksha) that is, true enjoyment here and in the hereafter are Dharmas. Meat

    eating and wine consuming cannot be regarded as the means to realize this goal.

     The CharamaslOka only asks to give up “Dharma”. The inference is

    that a true


vEdantinwill not indulge in “adharma‟ in the first place, which


    ingesting the above (as not sanctioned in the Saastras).

     In fact, Dharma does not even refer to material benefits like a

    faithful wife,

    obedient children, wealth, health nor Swarga or other celestial


     We have to ponder over the context in which Lord KrishNa has

    mentioned the

    word “Dharma” in the CharamaslOka.

     Lord KrishNa was advising Arjuna on the 32 different “vidyas” forming part of

    Bhakti yOga, after expatiating on Karma yOga, Jnaana yOga etc.

     Anyone of these 32 vidyas had to be done incessantly in a

    “tailadhaara” fashion (i.e) like the uninterrupted flow of oil and that too over

    several lives

    after which only it can yield the desired results.

     Arjuna felt helpless in doing any of the yOgas including the

    vidyas and was

    scared of the delay involved and felt thathe had very little time left

    for him

    to pursue any of them. To dispel his sorrow, the Lord offered to stand

    in the

    place of those Dharmas which Arjuna could not adopt and therefore, had


    given up as beyond his capacities. The Lord means “Having virtually

    given up all

    hopes of performing any of the Dharmas, Surrender unto me. I shall

    relieve you

    (mOkshayishyaami)” and offered a reassurance “Do not grieve” (Maa

    sucha). This

    is the real purport of the CharamaslOkam.

     If the objection is upheld, it will tantamount to a license to

    do anything

    that is proscribed in the Saastras, including meat eating, boozing, and


    other heinous crimes like perjury, falsehood and even murder.

     A vEdantin will not, in any case, resort to “adharmam” in order to “give them up later. The question of first doing adharmam and then giving it up

    later does

    not arise at all. CharamaslOka does not say “Do adharma first and then

    leave it”



Even if it does not say so explicitly, can we not draw an inference

    that the

    CharamaslOka obliquely conveys the sense that one may indulge in

    “adharma” in order to “give it up”?


     The word “Dharma” has to be taken in its absolute sense. The CharamaslOka


    refers to Dharma in a positive sense of virtuous acts prescribed in the Saastras, because a true vEdantin will in no case resort to “adhrama” (i.e) acts

    prohibited in the Saastras.

     When one strives to secure a wholesome life, the prerequisite is the conscious

    avoidance of evil acts and performance of virtuous ones.

     In the context of CharamaslOka, it can be seen that after elaborating on

    Karma, Jnaana and Bhakti yOgas (which are all Dharmas), the Lord advises Arjuna

    to give THEM up, if he felt incapable of adopting THEM and surrender unto him.

     Also, indulging in “adharma” per se is transgressing the

    commands of the Lord

    and no true devotee will ever dare to entertain the prospect of such violation

    inviting the wrath of the Lord and self destructive of “sEshatvam” (service to

    the Lord) - the natural disposition of the Jivaatma (Atmaswaroopam) These are machinations of Non-vEdic philosophies which the Lord condemned in

    the “Gita Saastram” in the words of Nammaazhwar:

     “piNakkara aru vagai samayamum neri uLLi uraitha KaNakkaru

    nalathanan anthamil

    aadiyam bhagavAn”

     It is sacreligious to import such interpretations to the voice of the Lord

    meant for spiritual elevation of souls. If we adopt such

    interpretations that

    have been condemned by our seers and sages, we will be heading only towards

    spiritual disaster.

     It is, therefore, clear that one should avoid consciously - spittle, amEdhyams

    (i.e) those that are not conducive to “medha” (intellect) should

    not consume

    like onions, garlic, drumstick, mushroom etc detailed in Swami Desika‟s “Ahaara Niyamam”



    If Bhagavaan is the antharyaami of all sentient beings and insentient matter, and all of them are enjoyable (bhOghyam) to him, how could Bhaagavatas pledging allegiance to him discard selectively such edibles like

    onion, garlic, mushroom etc, mentioned in the previous question?


     We should understand as to which state of Chetanas everything becomes

    enjoyable. It is only when a Bhaddha jeevaatma (embodied soul) transcends this


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